AR Dragons Tops Apple's Augmented Reality Apps

AR Dragons Tops Apple's Augmented Reality Apps
Gerry Sakkas is the founder of gaming company Playside Studios.
Photo: Scott McNaughton


AR Dragon uses augmented reality, which overlays images, videos and games on the real world to enable users to hatch, train and care for their own virtual baby dragon.


It's the most downloaded augmented reality game of the 2.2 million apps on Apple's app store, which includes more than half a million games. While AR Dragon is free to download, it makes money through users buying additional accessories for their virtual dragons.


Sakkas started PlaySide Studios in 2012 after the gaming company he was working for closed down. He's grown the business to a staff of 50 and turnover of more than $8 million.


"Every year we have been growing at almost a double multiple," he says. "I knew I had to do something to get out of being poor, I knew I didn't want to do the same thing as my parents, so I literally just worked my arse off. I was here for every second in the beginning, we were here at 8am and leaving at 12am for every day for the first year. We just hustled before entrepreneurship was even a thing."


Sakkas says he's grown Playside Studios by always looking to the future and that future is augmented reality.


"I see a future where everyone's wearing glasses or some form of thing on your eye that will allow you to see augmented reality all the time," Sakkas says. "Right now, we look a lot at our mobile phones and we think that it's perfect ... but every time we get a message we have to pull it out of our pocket and look at it. I see a future where we can have this conversation where things will be popping up and telling us things."


Sakkas' predictions are in line with Apple's vision.  Apple chief executive Tim Cook says in the future we will "have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you".

Gerry Sakkas of PlaySide studios with an augmented reality dragon from AR Dragon.
Photo: Scott McNaughton


Sakkas says Apple is leading the way with its ARKit technology, which allows developers to easily launch augmented reality apps, followed by Google with ARCore.


"A lot of people think this is going to happen over a decade or so but I kind of see it happening over two or three years," he says.


"It will happen so fast, the same way one day we were playing snake on our Nokias and then the next day we have an app store with apps it happened so quickly."


Sakkas says gaming is often at the forefront of the development of new technology.


"Every time there is a shift it starts with gaming," he says. "So the mobile app store came out originally and it was games that really pushed people to get the app store and download apps to begin with and then came the normal apps. I feel like the same thing will happen with AR."

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